Jigsaw Reading on Vocabulary
After our jigsaw reading and sharing yesterday, I have realized that academic language development is paramount across disciplines.
It’s like learning a foreign language for the first time. Living in China for 10 years does not make me fluent in Mandarin. I might be if I had pushed myself harder to understand the language. The intricacy of the characters and tone of the language made it so difficult for me to learn it. Without proper instruction and practice, it is almost impossible to speak the language. I am still learning Mandarin.
Bridging the gap between the vocabulary instructions and student’s academic language acquisition is integral in developing independent learners. Students need to have access to academic vocabulary in order to utilize the proper terms in the disciplinary texts being studied or grasp the complexity of texts used in content areas.
Many students find it difficult to connect with the academic language because they are not given opportunities to use them. As an educator, we need to create an atmosphere of learning academic language in classroom constantly.
We can employ some of the effective strategies to allow students to use academic language in their practice.
· Teach students how morphological awareness can be used in understanding academic texts
· Engage students through activities such as pair or group shares, quick writes and matching activities applying the academic language
· Scaffold these concepts using academic language through oral rehearsal (paraphrasing) and systematic study (multiple modality)
Instruction and practice take a vital role in developing student’s performance in learning content. Letting the students to discover the convention on their own can impact the language acquisition in content areas as well.
Another way to enhance academic language connection in class is to set clear language objectives in your lessons. Students will not succeed if they don’t know what to learn and even more so they won’t succeed if they do not know what to do. Language objectives will help teachers incorporate activities that will allow students to read, write, speak and listen to academic language used in the classroom. Ultimately, this action can foster effective content literacy.
Learning can only take place if new meaning is created and language is a resource to develop these meanings. At the same time it helps students to express their thoughts and observations in a sophisticated way. Without these language skills, the transferred teaching contents remain one-dimensional and hard to relate to and therefore are unlikely to be permanently anchored in the students’ heads. The proper use of academic language is indispensible for putting the newly acquired abilities in a context in real life.